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Weekly Features
Life in the Small Market
A collaborative weekly feature, Life in the Small Market offers up thoughts and views from small town broadcasters across America.
Jennifer Musa is a graduation of Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. She's been working at KSWT-TV in Yuma, Arizona for almost two yars as an Anchor/Reporter. She specializes in court, crime and military reporting. Says Musa, "the best part of my job is never knowing what's next. I love a new challenge every time I go to work."

Covering The Longest Hostage Standoff In The Nation's History

The Lewis Prison is in Buckeye, Arizona ... about an hour and a half from where I live in Yuma. The closest thing to a complex is a one street town called Gila Bend. Needless to say, everyone in that town was on pins and needles during the fifteen day standoff.

During my first day in Buckeye ... my small station style was bombarded by crews from Phoenix and Tucson ... and as the days went on more and more people came. However, every day I went ... we drove ... got interviews ... got video ... and got back in the car to make the six o'clock show. It got interesting, but our peers respected our desire to get the story.

One of the three spokespeople was from Yuma. Thanksfully, we already had a trusting working relationship. Yet, the most challenging part of my reporting was doing the same story that many days in a row with very few developments. Things, like one of the inmates standing on top of a tower ... or a bad of food would be our focus for the day. And, on some days nothing like that would even happen.

I learned that in this type of situation those people inside could be watching and listening. So, the best questions I could ask were for messages for those people inside, like what would you say to your fellow officer to make them feel safe? Those answers were always emotional and would help my viewers feel involved in the story.

During the fifteen days my ethical values were tested. Many reporters chose to listen to scanners to hear what negotiators might be saying. But, I chose to respect the requests and not interfere with negotiations. When it comes down to it, the survival of those officers was much more important than my minute package and, I think, viewers understand that too.

Ironically, the day after the longest hostage situation in the nation's history ended, one started in my small market of Yuma!